Nissan Qashqai 3 test (2021): the return of the king

How to renew yourself when you have become used to being number one? The Nissan Qashqai, champion of the compact SUV segment that it almost invented, however, has to contend with quite formidable competition. To face ever more numerous and sharper rivals, the third generation of the Japanese crossover is starting from scratch. Our essay.

Beneath its innocuous crossover airs, the Qashqai is an example of a formidable marketing calculation. Nissan may not have imagined that by unveiling the very first generation, in 2007, a whole fundamental movement was launched … Fourteen years, two Qashqai and three million copies later, everyone thinks, drives, and eats SUVs. Or crossover, since such is the name devoted since to this mixture of genres. At the time, Nissan also presented the Qashqai as its new compact, since the Almera was not replaced. The Nissan Golf in short! Exactly as if Peugeot decided one day to completely stop the 308 in order to produce only 3008s. It was daring, but prophetic … Since today, all these leggy pseudo-adventurers are partly substituted for traditional segments.

The Qashqai that we knew until now has remained, throughout its career, one of the best-selling in Europe. So widespread that we don’t even notice it anymore, it usually fought for first place with the Volkswagen Tiguan. Except in France, where our national 3008 wins. Paradoxically, its excellent commercial performance was not the exact reflection of its performance in recent years. Average roominess, unpretentious technology … Seven years of career, that leaves time for a lot of developments. And meanwhile, the competition has prepared its response : in addition to the two aforementioned Europeans, the danger also comes from Korea with a Hyundai Tucson, devastating look and ultra-complete techno support. In short, it was time for a makeover.

What’s new for the Nissan Qashqai 3?

Nothing in common with its predecessor, except for the high-perched silhouette, and the large logo in the center of the V-shaped grille. The change of era is notable. Make way for a design with marked edges and ribs, and the contours appear more slender, thanks to a few stylistic effects: the receding roof, the treatment of the C-pillars (thick and penalizing for visibility elsewhere), rear lights horizontally … The third Qashqai of the name is strangely longer than it really is. Its dimensions climb slightly (+3 cm in length and width), but still remain among the most compact templates in the niche. 4.43 m long is 8 cm shorter than a Tiguan.

Nissan Qashqai 3 test (2021): the return of the king
The odds of the Qashai 3 are up: 3 cm longer, 2 cm wider, 2 cm higher. The whole looks better seated, and more slender. Much more modern in appearance than its predecessor, which is getting old …

Good to know: anticipate the purchase and resale.

It is possible to know the resale or trade-in value of your vehicle thanks to the Turbo auto rating of your Nissan Qashqai, the alternative to the Argus rating.

The adoption of the new Renault-Nissan alliance platform (CMF-C, which will also benefit the future Renault Kadjar) also had an effect on wheelbase, extended by 2 cm, for the benefit of the rear seats. There is no shortage of space, although others are doing better. Good point on the other hand for access, facilitated by the very wide opening of the doors to 85 degrees. The observation also applies to the trunk, whose volume increases significantly (74 l more) to stand at 504 l., and modularity: the double bottom in two parts is renewed, but still no sliding bench. Good student, without standing out from the crowd.

The passenger compartment, precisely, concentrates at least as much progress as the outer envelope: the design of the dashboard is pragmatic, but much less austere than before, the serious finish and the materials of good quality. Foamed plastics are present on much of the furniture. The relatively simple layout has the advantage of offering up-to-date digital content (large 12.3-inch digital instrumentation, 10-inch central touch screen on our Tekna version) while retaining good old physical controls for elementary functions. Nothing beats a knob to turn to adjust the air conditioning!

Nissan Qashqai 3 test (2021): the return of the king
The presentation has been largely modernized: room for digital instrumentation, and a large central screen suspended and no longer integrated into the central console.

Driving the Qashqai 3

The new technical basis and the use of aluminum for a large part of the bodywork (opening and front fenders) are reflected in the balance: with an equivalent endowment and engine, the new Qashqai would therefore have gained 60 kg … which are used in part to compensate for the overweight linked to micro-hybridization, now automatically on all engines. Or rather, the only engine!

It couldn’t be simpler, since the range comes down to the single 4-cylinder 1.3 l gasoline already known within the Alliance (Renault Mégane, Kadjar, previous Qashqai) and even beyond since Mercedes uses it on Class A and Class B, for example. Diesel is over … At the risk of sending the big rollers and the managers of company fleets directly to the competition! A Tiguan benefits from ultra-sober TDIs and efficient PHEV, just like the 3008 and the Tucson. A hybrid, in fact, will complete the range at the end of the year. Called e-Power, not plug-in, and atypical in its architecture since the thermal will act as a generator in the manner of the Chevrolet Volt (therefore without direct connection to the transmission).

Nissan Qashqai 3 test (2021): the return of the king
The 140 hp of the small 1.3 l are sufficient and deliver an interesting smooth running. His appetite remains moderate, around 7 l / 100 without any particular effort.

Until then, we are therefore satisfied with this 1.3 DiG-T. Light hybridization comes down to an alternator-starter associated with a 12V battery. Almost imperceptible in use, apart from a certain inertia when restarting (ultimately hardly annoying), the system does not penalize the qualities of this engine: namely, smooth running, careful insulation and appreciable flexibility. Rather voluntary, the 140 hp do their job wisely to move the 1.405 kg … (10.2 s from 0 to 100 km / h) but are unfortunately penalized by the staging of the box, too long. As always, to grab a few liters (and grams) at the expense of performance. We therefore find ourselves frequently playing with the box to relaunch, as soon as the relief becomes more pronounced. The grievance is obviously absent from the Qashqai equipped with the Xtronic automatic gearbox (a CVT gearbox rather well managed and without excessive slipping effect), moreover more powerful (160 hp).

No big thrills to be expected either regarding its dynamic qualities, which however present a much more modern face than before. Always reassuring and very neutral in his reactions, but reasonably dynamic and incisive: the front axle has become much more precise, and the body movements are contained without being too firm. The compromise is interesting, without reaching the agility of a Peugeot 3008.

Nissan Qashqai 3 test (2021): the return of the king
Only one engine block in the catalog, while waiting for the e-Power hybrid: the well-known 4-cylinder 1.3 l, here enriched with a micro-hybridization (140 hp in manual gearbox, 160 hp in CVT gearbox).

At the pump, our too short trial run did not allow us to find an average representative of the real appetite of the little 1.3 l. But given the pace adopted, the 8 l / 100 km displayed by the on-board computer do not seem outrageous …

Prices, equipment: all-inclusive policy

As with the previous one, the price – equipment ratio is one of the strengths of the Qashqai 2021. With an engine and equivalent equipment, it is in the good average position against the competition. Nothing is really missing, from the entry level Visia (28,990 €) : emergency braking at intersections, recognition of signs, lane departure warning, cruise control, blind spot warning, etc. And the following trim levels are quickly enriched: reversing camera from the second Acenta finish (€ 31,490), digital instrumentation and Carplay interface on N-Connecta (€ 33,490).

In the higher Tekna + version, still billed at 41,890 € (only 160 hp and automatic gearbox), absolutely everything is standard. We will thus find the Propilot pack, a level 2 semi-autonomous driving function. On this point, nothing revolutionary (the previous Qashqai already benefited from it and the competition offers systems comparable in principle), but the guidance has been made a little more precise and GPS data is now integrated to adapt the speed according to the topography. Note also, something still rare among general practitioners, the presence of matrix headlights with LEDs.

Nissan Qashqai 3 test (2021): the return of the king
The trunk retains the double floor, which can be separated into 2 parts. The total volume gains 74 l and reaches 504 l under the shelf, in the category average.

Technical characteristics Nissan Qashqai 3 (2021)

Nissan Qashqai 3 Specifications
Model tested: Nissan Qashqai 1.3 140 hp Tekna
Dimensions L x l x h 4,425 / 1,835 / 1,625 m
Wheelbase 2,665 m
Min / max trunk volume 504 / 1.593 l
Unloaded weight 1.405 kg
Engine displacement 4 cylinders gasoline, turbo + micro-hybridization 12V – 1.332 cm3
Power 140 hp at 5,500 rpm
Maximum torque 240 Nm at 1,650 rpm
0 to 100 km / h 10,2 s
Max speed 196 km/h
CO2 rate 143 g/km (WLTP)
Announced consumption (WLTP) 6.3 l / 100 km (raised, dynamic driving: 8 l)
Bonus 2021 260 €
Prices from € 28,990 (model tested: € 35,790)

Source: – L'info en continu by

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